Speed up web browsing by putting Opera cache on a RAMdisk

In this small tutorial, I will show you how you can speed up web browsing in Windows by putting Operas cache folder on a RAMdisk, instead of your old harddrive or SSD.

It requires about 100 MB of free ram, or preferably more (250MB or so, if you can afford it). Since most systems today have 4 GB ram, setting aside 200MB should not be a problem.

First up, creating a ramdisk

After lots of searching, I found a program that works well, and does exactly what I need, the utility is called RAMDisk, created by Dataram.

Features:

  • It gives you a free personal ramdisk up to 4 GB in size, without registration, which is more than enough.
  • It works on Win7 and Vista, both x32 and x64 bit, and win XP
  • It works pretty well after having tested it for a couple of days.

The installation of RAMDisk is pretty straightforward, so Im not going to go through that.

Ramdisk setup

Setting up the ramdisk is pretty easy.

  1. Choose the RAMDisk size in MB.
  2. Choose a Fat32 partition.
  3. Click Start RAMDisk

You should now have a RAMDisk ready to use:

Configuring the volatile RAMDisk so it becomes non-volatile

The way the RAMDisk is set up for now, it will delete all files on the RAMDisk when it is stopped (volatile).

If you want the files to be stored, you can click on the Load and Save tab, where we can set the content of the disk, to be loaded and stored at startup and shutdown, to an image file.

If you now check “Save Disk Image on shutdown”, give it a filename, and press “Save disk image now”, then it will create the image of your RAMDisk. The image will be the same size as your RAMDisk.

Then, check the box, “Load Disk Image at Startup”, specify you image file, and optionally give your disk a label, “Ramdisk” or something describing.

Then go to File -> Save settings.

Your RAMDisk should now be properly set up, it should load when you start your computer, and save the contents to the image file on shutdown.

And we can now configure Opera.

Setting up Opera to use the RAMDisk

  1. Open a new tab in Opera.
  2. Paste this into the url bar, and press enter: opera:config#UserPrefs|CacheDirectory4
  3. This will take you to the configuration page, to change your cache directory.
    (Alternatively just enter opera:config, press enter, and search for “cache”
  4. Now create a folder on your RAMDisk, called “operacache” or something.
  5. Enter the path to your “operacache” folder, on your RAMDisk, in the “Cache Directory4″ settings.
  6. Remember to hit Save at the bottom of the “User prefs” settings list!
  7. Restart Opera.

Now, if this is properly set up, there should be cache files popping up in your “operacache” directory when you are browsing the internet. Something like this:

That tells us this is working!

And depending on how fast your computer is, you may notice a difference in page load times (from cache).

Note: Of course, webpages will not load faster the first time you visit them, since the bottleneck will be your internet connection.

Benchmarking the RAMDisk

Just for the fun of it, I did small and quick benchmark on my RAMDisk with Atto disk benchmark.

These are the results, compared to the regular harddrive, to the right:

Now hopefully you can enjoy a little bit faster web browsing, especially with cached sites.

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